IOM fosters dialogue between law enforcement and visible minorities in Ukraine

14 November 2014

The International Organization for Migration (IOM), in cooperation with the Regional Bureau of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, recently piloted a new format for building trust between Ukrainian law enforcement and migrant and ethnic minority communities in Ukraine. Twenty officials from Odesa and Odesa Region participated in a two-day training on hate crime identification and investigation, and learned how to work with minority communities.

The course united investigators and prosecutors, and featured a Living Library event* conducted to build trust among Odesa law enforcement representatives and visible minorities. “The books” were refugees from Afghanistan, representatives of the Roma community and international students from Guinea. The event was facilitated by members of the Diversity Initiative. Tetiana Pazinich, Deputy Professor of the Department of Criminalistics, Forensics and Psychiatrics at the Kharkiv National University of Internal Affairs and Maksym Butkevych, co-coordinator of No Borders Project / Social Action Centre, acted as expert trainers. The training participants enjoyed the Living Library experience and advocated for integrating this interactive learning format into the in-service education of Ukrainian law enforcement.

IOM, the Friedrich Ebert Foundation and DI are confident that the Living Library can help to improve the reporting rate, as well as successful investigation and prosecution of hate crime in Ukraine.

Nearly ninety per cent of the training participants confirmed the relevance of hate crime investigation for Ukrainian law enforcement agencies in a post-event survey. Approximately 80 per cent said that the training has positively changed their understanding of the issue.

The need to foster cooperation between law enforcement agencies and civil society was one of the recommendations of the study on integration, hate crimes and discrimination of different categories of migrants in Ukraine, conducted by IOM within the EU-funded project MIGRECO, Strengthening Migration Management and Cooperation on Readmission in Eastern Europe.

Over the eight months of 2014, the Diversity Initiative documented 24 cases of suspected hate-inspired violence with over 25 victims. Victims of the attacks were migrants from Chad, Egypt, Pakistan, Uganda, Somali, Sudan, Ethiopia and also citizens of Ukraine of Jewish, Crimean Tatar and Roma origin. Manifestations of violence occurred in the following seven cities: Kyiv (10 cases), Odesa (4 cases), Simferopol (3), Bila Tserkva (3), Slovyansk (2), Korosten (1) and Pereyaslav-Khmelnytskyi (1).


*Living Library is an interactive event that puts a human face on the idea of multiculturalism through starting conversations between people from different backgrounds. The model of the Living Library was adapted by the IOM Mission in Ukraine in 2007 from the concept developed by the Danish civil society organization «Stop the Violence».